Ashenden says UCI-run anti-doping hotline would lack credibility
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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ashenden says UCI-run anti-doping hotline would lack credibility

by Shane Stokes at 4:30 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
“As far as the UCI claiming that it acted on evidence, that is a preposterous stance”

Michael AshendenAustralian anti-doping expert Michael Ashenden has responded with scepticism to the planned UCI confidential hotline for riders, saying that while the principle would be a useful one in the fight against doping, that some other body needs to run it.

“A hotline is a sensible strategy, when it is managed by a credible organisation,” he told VeloNation.

“For the UCI to urge riders to come forward with information now is like a fox with feathers in its mouth urging the next chicken to come down off its roost.”

Ashenden previously worked as one of the nine biopassport experts monitoring riders’ blood data, but resigned from that post this year when the new administrators, the Athlete Passport Management Unit in Lausanne, demanded that those scientists sign a lengthy non-disclosure contract.

Since then he has been more outspoken than before about what he sees as failings with the anti-doping system, and has faulted the UCI for its handing of the Lance Armstrong affair.

Last month Ashenden told VeloNation that he had real concerns about Armstrong’s published blood data in 2009, but said he is unsure that the UCI ever passed on the Texan’s biological passport information to the experts to rule on it.

He’s also been critical of the UCI’s decision to take legal action against Floyd Landis and the journalist Paul Kimmage, and feels it has dragged its heels about the whole Armstrong case.

“As far as the UCI claiming that it acted on evidence, that is a preposterous stance for McQuaid to adopt, unless he considers suing the riders who came forward to be an 'action',” he said, referring to the statements made in the UCI president’s open letter to pro riders.

“It is offensive for McQuaid to blame inadequacy of the scientific methods. He was given a test for CERA in 2008, but unlike the IOC he refused to use the test on stored samples. Davide Rebellin was proof that if McQuaid had his way cheats would have continued to prosper.”

Rebellin took silver in the 2008 Olympic road race but was later disqualified after the IOC ran the CERA test on those samples.

In the past, McQuaid has said that retroactive testing will be carried out when new screening methods are developed, but has also backtracked on this by saying that there is no value in revisiting old samples months later.

Ashenden is part of a growing number of people who are calling for the whole area of anti-doping in cycling to be run by a body other than the UCI, thus separating the policing and promoting aspects of the sport.

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